CZECH REPUBLIC

Electricity bills are a laughing matter in the Czech Republic

Everyone moans about mounting electricity bills. But with Czech consumers, complaints come in the funniest forms. Read more...

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Everyone moans about mounting electricity bills. But with Czech consumers, complaints come in the funniest forms.

The Czechs are not unused to seeing their electricity bills mounting - the country's supplier, CEZ, has a monopoly on the sector. However, when it was announced that they'd be celebrating the new year with a 9.9% increase to their electricity costs, the reaction was not celebratory. Czechs are famous for their ability to keep their sense of humour, even in hard times - Reinhard Heydrich, the Nazi governor of Bohemia, once called them "laughing beasts". True to the tradition, the Czech population decided to face the news not with riots, but with jokes.

This post was compiled and translated by Ostap Karmodi, our Observer in the Czech Republic.

"When I pay my bills I curse so loud even the sky would break"

Czech rock singer Jirka Hurych has dedicated a folk melody to the energy giant: "CEZ, Hotshot Amongst Czech Thieves".

České Eso mezi Zloději, "CEZ".

Happy New Year from CEZ

This fake greetings card is circulating the Czech web.

"We're already looking forward to your money in 2009"

Dear customer,

We'd like to assure you that we completely understand your anger concerning our constant price hikes. But we wish to point out that you don't have any choice in the matter. We are a big company, and you're going to pay whatever we tell you.

In 2006, we saw profits of 28.8bn Kc [€1.2b], in 2007, 42.8bn Kc, and this year, they're predicted to be 48.8bn Kc. As you can see, our profit rates are gradually slowing, despite us trying our best to rip you off. Thanks to the warm winter, some bastards didn't put the heating on enough, spoiling our financial results.

Next year we plan to increase our efforts and gain at least 60bn profit. Our salaries depend on it, you know. Our cleaner doesn't get any less than 70,000 Kc a month [the average monthly wage in the Czech Republic is 23,000], and top managers wouldn't get out of bed for less than a million. Just board chairman Martin Roman's salary costs us 20m and his bonuses a mere 677m.

That's why we have to increase our prices by a further 22% in 2009. Newspapers will report only 9.9%, but we, unlike you or journalists, know how to count money. Businesses will get even bigger "presents". We have energy. You need it. It's bad and it's sad. We'd really hate to be in your place.

PS: We wonder what natural gas companies have in store for you..."